Kansas Travels to No. 10 Oklahoma For Key Big 12 Series
May 5, 2011
Kansas (22-24, 9-12) at #10 Oklahoma (32-13, 10-9)
Friday-Sunday, May 6-8 – 6:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 1 p.m.
L. Dale Mitchell Park (2,700) – Norman, Okla.
Friday, May 6
Saturday, May 7
Sunday, May 8
After sweeping a two-game midweek series from Wichita State, Kansas baseball will return to Big 12 play with a three-game showdown against No. 10 Oklahoma this weekend in Norman. The Jayhawks and Sooners will meet in a series at L. Dale Mitchell Park beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. Saturday’s game is scheduled for 2 p.m., while Sunday’s finale features a 1 p.m. first pitch.
Saturday’s game will be televised nationwide on Fox Sports Net as the Big 12 Game of the Week. All three games can be heard on Lawrence radio station KLWN (1320 AM). Fans can also tune in online at www.klwn.com.
Oklahoma leads the all-time series with Kansas, which dates back to 1906, by a 146-87 count with one tie. The Sooners lead the series 76-34 in Norman. Oklahoma swept a three-game series from the Jayhawks last season in Lawrence, winning in its final at bat in two of the three games. OU also won a fourth meeting at the Big 12 Championship, 3-2. However, the Jayhawks have won the last two series between the teams in Norman.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas swept a midweek series from in-state rival Wichita State to improve to 22-24 overall. The Jayhawks collected 28 hits in the two-game set, including a season-high 18 in Wednesday’s contest. KU is 5-12 in true road games this year.
The Jayhawks are batting .261 as a team with 24 homers and are averaging 4.1 runs per game. On the mound, KU ranks sixth in the Big 12 with a 3.72 ERA. The Jayhawks are holding opponents to a .259 batting average.
Scouting the Sooners
Oklahoma enters the weekend ranked 10th in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association (NCBWA) poll. OU opened the year with 15-straight wins and has dominated competition at home, going 21-4 in Norman.
Oklahoma’s offense ranks first in the Big 12 with a .323 batting average and 34 home runs. The Sooners average 7.4 runs per game. Junior third baseman Garrett Buechele leads OU’s offense with a .365 batting average, seven homers and a league-best 51 RBIs. Senior outfielder Ricky Eisenberg has the Sooners’ top batting average at .379 and is batting .370 in Big 12 games. OU’s lineup features eight players batting above .300.
On the mound, Oklahoma ranks third in the league with a 3.12 ERA. KU will face ace right-handed pitcher Michael Rocha on Friday night. The senior is 8-2 with a 1.51 ERA and has 63 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings. The back-end of OU’s rotation features righties Burch Smith (7-3, 4.20 ERA) and Bobby Shore (2-2, 4.18). Senior Ryan Duke is the Sooners’ closer, leading the team with five saves and a 4.10 ERA.
Oklahoma head coach Sunny Golloway is in his seventh season and has an overall record of 252-129-1 with the Sooners. OU’s RPI ranking is No. 17.
Last Time Out
Kansas baseball scored 11 runs on a season high 18 hits, including three each by freshman Ka’iana Eldredge and senior Casey Lytle as the Jayhawks unloaded on Wichita State, 11-2, Wednesday night at Eck Stadium.
– Kansas has two Oklahoma natives on its roster in Kevin Kuntz (Tulsa) and James Stanfield (Owasso).
– Junior infielder Cameron Seitzer (Overland Park) is the lone Sooner from the state of Kansas.
– Seitzer and KU redshirt sophomore Thomas Taylor were teammates at Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, Kan., and graduated in the same class. KU pitchers Colton Murray and Conner Murray are also Overland Park natives, but attended Olathe East High School.
– Kansas relief pitcher Nolan Mansfield (Voorhees) and Oklahoma pitcher Anthony Collazo (Paterson) are natives of New Jersey.
– Both teams feature two players who have fathers that played in the major leagues. KU’s Jason Brunansky (Tom Brunansky) and Kevin Kuntz (Rusty Kuntz) as well as OU’s Garrett Buechele (Steve Buechele) and Cameron Seitzer (Kevin Seitzer) have fathers who played in the major leagues in roughly the same time period.Brunansky and Seitzer were briefly teammates on the Milwaukee Brewers in 1994.
While offensive numbers are down across college baseball this season, production at the plate has gone up for KU’s catchers this year. Junior James Stanfield and sophomore Alex DeLeon are both hitting over 100 points higher than they did last season.
Stanfield leads all of KU’s regulars with a .340 batting average and has a .447 slugging percentage, while DeLeon is tied for the team lead with five homers and is batting .291 after batting just .143 in limited time last year.
Kansas senior pitcher T.J. Walz captured two more school records in his last start at Texas Tech on April 29. The senior righty is KU’s career leader in strikeouts (294), games started (47) and innings pitched (310.1). He is also just one victory shy of matching the club record for wins (26) in a career.
Walz has been one of the most dominating pitchers in the Big 12 over the last three seasons, posting a 14-6 record in conference games with a 3.94 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 164 1/3 innings. He ranks sixth in the Big 12 this season in strikeouts (71), innings pitched (72 2/3) and 10th in opponent batting average (.228).
Casey at the Bat
KU’s most consistent player this season has been senior outfielder Casey Lytle. The fourth-year right fielder is one of two players to start all 46 games for the Jayhawks this season and has hit .371 (23-for-62) over the team’s last 20 games.
Lytle had a team-best 13-game hitting streak in March, which helped him break out of an early season slump, and has continued to hit since then. The senior leads the team in multi-hit games, including eight in 21 Big 12 games. His .366 batting average in conference play ranks fourth in the league.
After going through a five-game mini-slump to end the month of April, the Jayhawk bats appear to be back on track. Despite their struggles late in the month, KU hit .273 in April with 18 home runs after batting just .234 with four homers over the first six weeks of 2011.
So far in May, the Jayhawks have scored 25 runs on 42 hits in three games, including a season-high 18 base knocks at Wichita State on Wednesday night.
– KU’s three-game series in Norman, Okla., is the team’s only scheduled trip to the Sooner state this season. The Jayhawks have gone 7-5 in Norman under head coach Ritch Price.
– The Jayhawks will face No. 10 Oklahoma this weekend in the team’s fourth series against an opponent ranked in the top 10. KU has gone 4-10 this year against ranked opponents, including 2-9 against teams ranked in the top 10.
– Four runs scored has been the magic number for the Jayhawk offense this season. KU is 21-4 when the team scores four runs or more and 1-20 when scoring three runs or less.
– Driving in runs in clutch situations has been paramount to KU’s success this season. The Jayhawks have 58 two-out RBIs, including 32 since April 1. The Jayhawks are also batting .271 as a team with two outs in an inning.
– While KU’s bullpen has gotten a lot of noteriaty, the Jayhawks’ starting pitching has been very good as well. KU’s starters have an ERA of 3.62 and 21 quality starts, while holding opposing hitters to a .260 batting average.
– The Jayhawks have run more than in previous seasons. KU has swiped 41 bases in 65 attempts after stealing just 29 bases all of last season.
– While the Jayhawks have struggled offensively on the road this season, senior Casey Lytle has excelled. Lytle leads the team with a .413 (26-for-63) batting average in true road games. Lytle went 6-for-10 with a pair of RBIs and four runs scored in KU’s recent series at Texas Tech.
– Prior to KU’s midweek series with Wichita State, the NCAA released its sixth stats report of the year and there are several Jayhawks ranked in the Top 100. As a team, KU ranked 73rd in ERA (3.78) and 67th in hits allowed per nine innings (8.7).
– Individual players appearing among the NCAA statistical leaders include: Zac Elgie ranked 84th in doubles (15), Brandon Macias was 84th in times hit by pitch (11) and Jimmy Waters ranked 82nd in most at bats per strikeout (12.6). Pitching leaders included Colton Murray was 56th in saves (seven) and T.J. Walz was 56th in strikeouts (71).
– Several KU players rank in the top 10 in Big 12 statistics. Offensively, Zac Elgie is tied for fourth in the league in doubles (15). On the mound, T.J. Walz ranks sixth in innings pitched (72.2) and sixth in strikeouts (71). Colton Murray is fourth in the league with seven saves.
– Several KU players rank among the league leaders in conference-only stats: senior Casey Lytle ranks fourth in batting average (.366), tied for 10th in hits (26) and fourth in on-base percentage (.458), Brandon Macias is tied for seventh in runs scored (15) while Jimmy Waters is tied for fourth in RBIs (16). Zac Elgie ranks sixth in the league in doubles (seven).
– Pitching-wise in conference-only stats, T.J. Walz is tied for seventh in wins (three), sixth in innings pitched (48.1), fourth in strikeouts (46) and ninth in opponents’ batting average (.210). Freshman Frank Duncan is tied for second in appearances (12) and Colton Murray is tied for sixth in saves (three).
Wichita State Series Leftovers
– The Jayhawks swept the season series from Wichita State for the second time in the last three years. In the two game set, KU outscored the Shockers, 18-6.
– KU collected a season high 18 hits in Wednesday’s game. The 18 base hits were the most by the Jayhawks since collecting 19 on May 7, 2010 against Missouri.
– KU’s nine-run margin of victory Wednesday was the biggest Jayhawk win over Wichita State since a 10-1 triumph in 1988. The nine-run differential was also the largest KU win in Wichita since 1956.
– All nine position starters recorded at least one hit in the Wednesday night game, including three each by Ka’iana Eldredge and Casey Lytle.
– Lytle’s three-hit night marked his team-best 15th multi-hit game of the season, which matched a career high.
– Wichita native Jake Marasco recorded his third career two-hit game against the Shockers. In three contests against Wichita State, Marasco is 6-for-13 with three doubles.
– Senior shortstop Brandon Macias extended his hitting streak to eight-straight games with a single in the sixth inning. The eight-game streak is one shy of Macias’ career-best of nine-straight games with a base hit, which he accomplished earlier this season.
– KU’s pitching trio of Thomas Taylor, Wally Marciel and Jordan Jakubov did not allow a walk in Wednesday’s game, marking the second time a Jayhawk opponent has failed to draw a base on balls.
– Taylor matched Marciel and senior T.J. Walz for the team lead with his fifth victory of the season in Wednesday’s game.
Czyz Selected to KU Hall of Fame
On Wednesday, Kansas Athletics announced that former Jayhawk closer Don Czyz has been elected to the KU Athletics Hall of Fame. Czyz will officially be enshrined Homecoming Weekend (Sept. 30, 2011).
Czyz pitched for four seasons (2003-06) at KU and enjoyed the best year of any Jayhawk reliever, recording a 6-0 record and 19 saves in 2006. He was named a First Team All-American by three different publications and was tabbed the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Assocation’s Stopper of the Year.
Kansas will wrap up a five-game road trip with a Tuesday night contest at Arkansas-Little Rock on May 10 at 6 p.m. The game will be played at Dickey-Stephens Park, home of the Double-A Arkansas Travelers.